Meanwhile, the UK is pushing ahead with their Basra exit plan and hope to complete a handover to Iraqi forces by the end of the year.
Denmark is also pulling out early.
In John Howard's Australia, however, any discussion of withdrawal, or even a logical exit strategy, is still verboten.
Of course, the US talk of withdrawal is pretty suss...
It must be made clear to the public that the Levin-Reed Amendment does not call for a specific withdrawal from Iraq nor does it seek to revamp the American mission in the region. Representatives such as Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi who proudly boast of being men and women of peace; disgrace not only their own selves, yet also the millions of true warriors of peace in this country, when they back a plan that will leave America's future in Iraq to military generals. The Levin-Reed Amendment is nothing more than a political stunt that calls for, at best, a smaller war, not an end to the occupation which the American public and the world yearns to see.The politicians may still be playing games, but at least they are actively discussing withdrawal in the US media. That's an important first step towards whole-hearted public pressure for a complete and permanent withdrawal.
Back home, Kevin Rudd's plan to withdraw COMBAT TROOPS ONLY is still a half-hearted cop-out designed to keep one finger on Iraq's oil, and one big US finger up our national rectum, just in case it pays off. As Labor's Foreign Affairs spokesman, Robert McClelland, said:
"Labor is still leaving the ship in the gulf, the aircraft, the transport, the overflight facilities there."When is the Australian media going to start a real debate about a real withdrawal?
Only 6% of Australians believe our involvement in the war has made us more safe. A majority even think it has made us less safe (51%), with the remainder thinking it has made no difference at all. View the poll results here.Kevin Rudd has no more answer to that than John Howard. Now is the time to pressure Labour for a more concrete commitment to a complete withdrawal. What can you do? Well, GetUp! needs only 1539 more signatures on their petition to hit their target of 40,000 - please go help out now.
Our involvement in the war in Iraq is not making Iraqis any safer, it is not making Australians any safer. The question must be asked, then, why are we there?